KM Europe is the largest Knowledge Management event in Europe.
Most exhibitors and questions are centered around unstructured information i.e. the scope SAP’s NW (= SAP NetWeaver) KM covers, search engines, portals and collaborative tools.
So, from a tool perspective, this is about 50 % of what the NW stack covers.
Here are some observations regarding the attendees of the event and the questions they typically asked:
1. Attendees are KM practisioners of all kind. Many of them have SAP implemented ‘in some subsidiary or department’ in their organization and they were surprised that SAP is actively playing in the KM space. Lesson learned: SAP folks and the folks responsible for a KM strategy (apart from tools and technology) are often separated in different areas / departments in a company.
I am not sure if this is something customers should strive for. Yes, ERP and KM have different approaches so it makes sense to separate them from a topic perspective, but isn’t ERP meant to run and improve a company as a whole ? And isn’t effective knowledge management not one key driver for innovation which again should find its way into the resource planning of a company ? So, my guess would be that it makes sense to combine these topics at least in some ways in organizations.
See also the next bullet for some more details.
2. Attendees see the need to connect their ‘company knowledge base’ (or what other terms have been used to denote this kind of ‘information source’) to their business processes and more important to other business data that is existing in a company.
Quoted most often were connections between the SAP Business Intelligence solution, document storages and collaboration environments. AND THIS IS EXACTLY SOMETHING THAT WE CAN DELIVER WITH SAP NETWEAVER ´04 ALREADY WITH THE JOINED INFOMRATION BROADCASTING BETWEEN BI, KM and Collaboration. So we are definitely on the right track with embedding KM and Collaboration closer to our business applications.
3. Finally: KM is not about tools and technology only (although the SDN platform is of course centered around this). Many of the non-vendor keynotes (e.g. from universities, think tanks, etc.) did highlight this approach. Just one quote from one of the keynotes: If your users do not want to collaborate (for what ever reason), the best software will not change this. So besides investing in tools and technology, also keep an eye on company culture, processes and communication to your employees, customers, partners, suppliers or who else might be a source of knowledge for you.
Tomorrow will come the second blog (I have to think about interesting topics to cover in my bed before going to sleep).